Other emerging technologies, such as 3D gesture controls, voice controls,and projection technology, could eliminate the need for physical keyboards or displays, and could place greater reliance on a smartphone or a similar device as a wireless processing hub in a workspace.
"Tablets will sell well for a few years, but with things like Google Glass and projection technology, which projects a screen on any surface, the concept of a tablet is less relevant," said J. Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, an enterprise mobility consultancy that works with companies like Sprint and industrial parts supplier W.W. Grainger to implement ubiquitous mobility systems.
Schwan said Heins' comments provoked spirited debate among designers and engineers in his Chicago office over the future of personal computing. "A lot of our current work is getting people off of laptops and moving towards 100 percent use of the handheld device," Schwan said. Solstice is testing Google Glass, Nuance's voice navigation, and Leap Motion's 3D sensor technology. Leap Motion's controller senses a user's hands and fingers to follow every move as precisely as 1 centimeter by 1 centimeter. The technology could be precise enough to detect finger movements similar to striking an actual keyboard, Schwan said.
With that kind of vision, where users are interacting in 3D, "the screen becomes less of a constraint, so you just need a device with wireless connectivity that can process data," Schwan said. "Screen size is less of an issue. It could be that's where Heins is going" with BlackBerry.
This article, Blackberry CEO's comments ignite debate on future of personal computing, was originally published at Computerworld.com. Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com. See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com. Read more about tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.